Directed by Richard LaGravenese
Starring Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, Emma Thompson, Margo Martindale, Eileen Atkins and Zoey Deutch
Though it’s going to suffer from the inevitable comparisons to the Twilight series of films, Beautiful Creatures actually features a competently told romance and a pair of lead actors that are likeable and enjoyable to watch, something I never got from the antics of Bella and Edward.
I have not read any of the series of books by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the first of which the film is based on, so felt I would be at somewhat of a disadvantage compared to the fans of the books. And there were a few points where I felt I may have benefited from a bit of background knowledge. In a similar way to the Twilight series of films, this film feels very much like something made for the fans that already exist, rather than a separate entity. I’ve always been of the opinion that a film based on a book/comic/tv series should pay homage to its source material, but also try to appeal to those who want to view it as stand alone product.
That being said, bar a few instances where I felt a little confused at how the nature of the ‘Casters’ (magical folk) powers and the rules of their supernatural world, the basic story and how it develops is very formulaic and, I have to say, simple. Not that this is really a bad thing at times. It let me get comfortable and made it easier to get into the film.
I really did enjoy watching Englert and Ehrenreich. They have great chemistry, and were incredibly likeable as a couple. Something that is ultimately essential for a romance. Their dialogue is very natural, their body language also. Unlike the leads in Twilight, these two do a good job at engaging you in their story.
The supporting cast, in particular Jeremy Irons, are fun to watch, and support the main story and Englert and Ehrenreich very well. Though Irons and Emma Thompson do chew the scenery, they don’t really do so at the expense of the younger members of the secondary cast, who seem more than capable.
I did enjoy Beautiful Creatures, mostly due to the aforementioned efforts of the two leads. The world building felt a little clumsy, and most of the information about the supernatural elements is fed to you in info dump style, which has to be expected when you transfer a story told in a book to a visual medium. I can only imagine that a fan of the book and the series would get more from the film then I did, but I didn’t feel too left out as a virgin to the franchise.